Last Updated on March, 2024
Welcome to the vibrant world of Yorkie colors! These adorable Yorkshire Terriers showcase a palette of coat colors from the elegant classics to the uniquely striking.
It’s no wonder this popular dog breed has captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide!
In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Yorkie colors (standard and rare colors!), uncover the genetics behind their coat colors, and what you should know about this dog breed.
So, whether you’re a seasoned Yorkie owner or simply captivated by these pint-sized pups, there’s always something new to learn!
Let’s get to it.
There are four official recognized standard colors for Yorkies: black and tan, black and gold, blue and tan, blue and gold.
Breeders can also produce rare colors such as golden, blue, merle, red-legged, parti, black, and chocolate/brown. These colors can indicate cross-breeding and potential health concerns.
The genetics behind Yorkie coat colors are complex, with various genes responsible for creating different colors. It’s important to prioritize the health and well-being of a Yorkie over its coat color when considering adopting or purchasing one.
Table of Contents
- Common Yorkie Colors
- Rare Yorkie Colors
- The Genetic Basics of Yorkshire Terrier Colors
- Does a Yorkie Puppy’s Coat Change As They Grow Up?
- Why Are There So Many Yorkie Colors?
- What Should Potential Yorkie Owners Know About Coat Color Preferences?
- A Quick Look At the Yorkie Breed
- Final Note
Common Yorkie Colors
These coat colors result from breeding two purebred Yorkies, which you’ll typically see in the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
Before diving into these Yorkie colors, you must know that ALL Yorkshire Terriers are born with a black and tan coat but will change as they age (more on this in a bit).
Keeping that in mind, let’s look closer at these traditional Yorkie colors.
1. Black and Tan Yorkie
As already mentioned, Yorkie puppies start off with black and tan coats. This just means that black and tan Yorkies don’t change their coat colors because they lack the graying gene.
2. Black and Gold Yorkie
A black and gold Yorkie has one graying gene. This results in the tan parts of its coat fading into a lighter shade, creating a black and gold Yorkshire Terrier.
3. Blue and Tan Yorkie
Like black and gold Yorkies, a blue and tan Yorkie has one graying gene, too. However, instead of affecting the tan sections of the Yorkshire Terrier coat, it causes the black parts of the coat to fade to a blue or gray color.
What’s more, these blue and tan Yorkshire Terriers have a shimmery coat that reflects light. Sometimes, they even have darker tails.
4. Blue and Gold Yorkie
At this point, you might have guessed how this Yorkshire Terrier gets its blue and gold coat color.
That’s right, they have two graying genes! They affect both the black and tan colors of the Yorkie’s coat, causing the fur to fade to blue and gold. You will find this color combination more commonly in an adult Yorkie.
Rare Yorkie Colors
Remember that these coat colors are often a sign of cross-breeding where both or either of the parents isn’t a purebred Yorkie.
This may not be an issue. However, there can be health concerns due to poor breeding. They may also not have the same silky coat a Yorkshire Terrier is known to have.
Now, let’s look at some of the rare Yorkie coat colors.
1. Golden Yorkie
Golden Yorkies have an all-blonde coat due to the predominance of the pheomelanin gene. A Golden Yorkie is extremely rare as it is hard to find the genetic possibility that results in an all-gold coat color.
2. Blue Yorkie
Sometimes, you may come across a Yorkshire Terrier born with a gray-blue coat. However, these Yorkshire Terrier puppies rarely live for more than a year.
The few blue Yorkies who do survive may experience coat loss as they age, develop leathery skin, and have allergies, leading to a life of pain and discomfort.
You must stay away from any shady breeders who try to sell these unfortunate Yorkie puppies with this coat color.
3. Merle Yorkie
Merle Yorkies display distinctive dark patches on their fur and occasionally have two different eye colors. Despite their cuteness, it’s important to note that these dogs with this coat color are not well-bred and fall outside the accepted breeding standard.
Yorkshire Terriers with two Merle genes (commonly called a “Double Merle”) face significant health issues, often born with hearing impairments or complete deafness.
4. Red-Legged Yorkie
Red-legged Yorkies are a unique variation of the traditional gold Yorkshire Terrier, where their coats turn into a vibrant red hue. This distinctive coloration is due to a throwback gene that goes back five generations.
This Yorkie coat results from both parents carrying copies of a recessive gene. Their coat also tends to be wiry, with long facial hair.
5. Parti Yorkie
Parti Yorkies, short for “particolored,” are a mix of blue and tan coloring with some white or tan markings. In some cases, the white fur becomes the predominant color in a parti Yorkie.
The white hair is due to a recessive piebald gene, which both parents must have to breed parti Yorkies. However, having both parents with the gene doesn’t guarantee getting parti puppies either.
And good news! The AKC officially recognizes this coat despite the parti Yorkie being a non-standard color.
6. Black Yorkie
A black Yorkie is possible through cross-breeding with another dog. It’s important to note that there’s no such thing as a purebred black Yorkshire Terrier, so be cautious of any breeder claiming their black Yorkie puppy is purebred.
7. Chocolate/Brown Yorkie
Chocolate Yorkies boast a completely brown chocolate coat due to the specific recessive b allele gene. While it’s possible for a purebred Yorkie to be a chocolate Yorkie, it can also indicate mixed DNA, often from a Dachshund.
So, before you invest in a chocolate Yorkie puppy at purebred prices, ensure that you research the dog’s lineage.
The Genetic Basics of Yorkshire Terrier Colors
We don’t want to bore you with the science of how a Yorkie gets its coat color, but it’s always a fascinating topic to learn.
A Yorkie puppy has a predominantly black coat due to the eumelanin (black) gene, resulting in the black coat you see in most Yorkie puppies.
The other gene in most Yorkies is pheomelanin (red), which is responsible for the golden, brown, or tan portions in the Yorkie puppy’s coat.
The presence of graying genes in Yorkies weakens the eumelanin gene; without these genes, Yorkies would maintain a consistent black and tan or black and gold coat throughout their lives.
Graying genes make a dog’s coat fade to lighter shades as they age. While Yorkies rarely fade to pure white, it’s still possible due to the interplay of genes and a bit of luck.
Does a Yorkie Puppy’s Coat Change As They Grow Up?
Yes! It does.
A Yorkie puppy coat is different in color and thickness compared to the adult coat. There’s a transition stage where the color change is quite noticeable, similar to how red Goldendoodles shift to gold, and black Poodles sometimes fade.
A puppy’s coat typically starts fading at 6 months, which continues for about two years. So, your Yorkie’s coat might change from puppy to adult coat until it’s around 1-3 years old.
Even after reaching adulthood, you can expect more changes. Coats with black hair may become lighter, possibly transforming to blue and even glimpses of gold.
A tan coat will lighten to golden, and chocolate Yorkies will lighten and take on a golden hue as they age.
Why Are There So Many Yorkie Colors?
This is simply because of genetics. We’ve already discussed the various genes Yorkies can have, like the graying gene that makes their fur lighten, the eumelanin gene that gives the dog its black fur, the pheomelanin responsible for the tan color, and the piebald gene in a Parti Yorkie.
So, when you get all these color combinations in a Yorkie mix, they can give us a wide range of coat colors.
What Should Potential Yorkie Owners Know About Coat Color Preferences?
While there is no difference between the behaviors of Yorkies with the standard and rare coats, the same can’t be said for their health.
The standard coats in Yorkshire Terriers are considered healthy without specific conditions linked to their coat colors. Occasionally, minor health problems can occur, similar to other dog breeds.
However, rare colors from questionable breeding practices, like parti, golden, or chocolate Yorkies, may carry diseases such as cataracts, bronchitis, and digestive problems.
There are also unseen genetic issues that can affect puppies and future offspring. If a Yorkie with severe problems breeds, the litter may inherit the same genes, leading to continued health issues.
Ensure that you consider all these factors before you adopt or purchase a rare-colored Yorkie. However, no matter what type of coat color you are looking for, always prioritize the dog’s health first and look out for unethical breeders.
A healthy Yorkie will make you happy, regardless of the coat color.
A Quick Look At the Yorkie Breed
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog with a big personality, making it a great companion for people of all ages. They’re popular as one of the toy dog breeds in the United States, known for their silky coats and playful nature.
While Yorkies can be a bit yappy, they might not be the best choice for apartments with thin walls. They also need some maintenance, especially regarding dental care. However, with effort, a Yorkie can be a wonderful pet.
If you’re considering a Yorkie, adopting from rescue organizations or shelters is a good option.
If you decide to purchase, choose a reputable breeder who follows ethical practices, prioritizes the dogs’ well-being, conducts health screenings, and provides a nurturing environment for the puppies.
This ensures you bring home a happy and healthy pup while discouraging unethical breeding.
Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:
- Best Training Collar for Yorkies
- Yorkie Price
- Common and Rarest Cane Corso Colors
- Why Is My Dog Eating Her Puppies?
Remember, the coat color is just one aspect that makes these little dogs so special! It is crucial for you to choose a responsible breeder to ensure that you get a Yorkie that’s healthy and happy.
You can be sure that your Yorkshire Terrier will become a cherished companion to you for years to come!
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